| posted by Joe Hice |

Jackson Dudley — 2001 to 2019

He was the toughest and most determined little dog I had ever met.  He was the runt of his litter with a deformed front leg and oversized chest.  His tail was almost as long as his body.  He had velvet ears.  He became an instant part of the family.

He was a Wisconsin shelter dog and his bark could scare Babe, the Blue Ox.  It was that big chest the kids said.  He loved the snow and would run, nose buried, the entire block, two girls close behind.

His name was Jackson Dudley, but he answered to Jackie, Jackie J, J Jeru, Jinkus, J-kees co.  You know you’re loved when you have that many nicknames.

His soul mate for 17 years was Rufus, a black and white jellical cat.  They played together, slept together, burrowed under the rug together. Jackson would chase the other cat relentlessly, paws skittering across polished cherry floors.  But Rufus, they were best friends. 

He ate anything.  As a pup, he lapped up shaving cream left on the driveway during a Halloween T-P incident.  He got sick but recovered.  Sandy left a bag of bird seed on the floor and he ate it.  All two or three pounds.  He pooped bird-seed cutlets for a week.  A tasty treat for the birds.  I don’t know. What did the birds think.

He traveled like a pro making the drive from Wisconsin to Florida, From Gainesville to Miami, From Tampa to Atlanta.  Put him in the backseat and he was gone until the next stop. Up and at ‘em. A quick pee and poo and back in the car.  Never a complaint.

As he got older car trips were harder.  His legs and hind quarters didn’t always work the way they should after a long drive.  He’d tremble until he knew he was not going to the vet.  He really didn’t have a problem with the vet and I always thought his “fear” was curious.  They treated him like the beloved elder worshiped by the tribe.

Well into his 17th year he’d have a dog fit now and then when I came home.  Circling the couch with his buddies Hominy and Grits, the Papillons, close behind.  Reversing direction so I wouldn’t catch him.  He was the pup I remembered from all those years ago.

When he turned 18 three months ago things really slowed down.  He had trouble walking and mostly slept.  He lost control from time to time and was embarrassed. He’d go into his kennel, head down.  But offer him a treat or “biscuit,” and he’d be out of that crate lickety split. 

In dog years he had 126 great ones.  In people years a little over 18.  He lit up our lives and never complained.  Despite his stature – a big dog in a little dog body with a tail of epic proportions – a deformed left front leg, soft tissue cancer at 13, a cataract that got so bad he lost his eye, and hearing he lost long ago, it was hard to say goodbye.

But as one of the girls’ favorite childhood friends, Winnie the Poo (misspelled intentionally for Jackson), said; 

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard….” 

So goodbye old fella.  We’re going to miss you.

Passion Rules!

He was 18+ and a great dog!

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